With Tropical Cyclone Bune cruising by, perhaps it’s timely to stick with coastal issues another day.

Awhile back, I spent the morning on a ‘site visit’ with Larry Dallimore, a Westshore resident, to hear his case as to why ‘beach renourishment’ — the current strategy of the Napier and Regional Councils for dealing with erosion at Westshore — would never work.

I discovered that Larry isn’t a dilettante on the issues involved, although he seems to be treated as a meddling nuisance by the powers-that-be. This is generally how Councils treat ‘average’ citizens who get in the way of business as usual. Here’s a guy who’s offered personally to pay for additional qualified assessment of the present Westshore approach, but has been told, effectively, to ‘get lost’. At the end of this article, I’ve included Larry’s background to indicate he might just be a helluva lot more credible than the Councillors and bureaucrats who are making the decisions on our coastal erosion challenges.

Personally, given what I heard and saw, I found his thumbs-down verdict on Napier’s present course to be rather convincing.

As a counterpoint to the guest post from Larry that I’m publishing below, read first the response the Regional Council staff gave when queried at a Council meeting recently about the status of Westshore. I observed that the staff was quite reluctant to actually discuss the matter when asked in public session; they promised a written response instead (avoiding any public challenge). Here’s what Councillors were sent:

“Recent reports in local newspapers that the renourishment project is failing are not well founded. Localised erosion has however occurred in the vicinity of a concrete ramp placed over the beach crest to enable the surf club to launch surfboats and IRBs. This is a normal effect in the vicinity of localised points of hard protection works.”

Now read Larry Dallimore’s analysis (lengthy, but some things require explaining!), look over his professional background, and decide … Who would you believe?

On Coast Protection
By Larry Dallimore

High seas from an ENE direction are forecast for the HB coastline during three tides on the 30th and 31st March 2011. Swells approaching 2m will peak on the high tides at 03:30pm on Wednesday and 04:00am and 04:30pm on Thursday. The 1.5m neap tides will lessen the effect however the severity of this swell event is dependent on the strength and direction of Cyclone Bune. The offshore storm has entered NZ waters and passed over Raoul Island NE of East Cape and is slowly weakening as it heads south.

These are not severe swells and this is not an extraordinary event. Moderate to high swells will influence HB beaches if it tracks offshore within 400kms of the coast. The effect on our beaches could be significantly reduced if the category 2 cyclone slows and weakens or the high pressure system over central NZ pushes the SE path beyond 600 kms from the NZ coast.

Regarding the Cape Coast, Tom says “have a go at this one folks” … so here is my opinion. The solution for beach erosion from Clifton to Haumoana will be difficult while the HBRC adopts the “Paul Komar Report” as the benchmark for approving a remedy. The HBRC paid two thirds (including the Port’s investment of one third) for this report, which had the desired last paragraph – “it is time to stop blaming the Port structures for coastal erosion”.

There are many baseless findings and omissions in this report but there will be a problem for the Cape Coast while the HBRC accepts Komar’s assessment that 18,000 m3 of greywacke stone enters the Haumoana littoral cell annually due to the erosion of Cape Kidnappers. This source does not exist. The origin of greywacke shingle is in the ranges and logic suggests it was transported via ancient rivers into the Bay to form the seabed beyond the deep water “Springs”. The established seabed was the source of beach replenishment for the Cape Coast, with minimal recent contributions from Tukituki River flooding and the forces of the northerly sediment drift.

The “do nothing” option and “let nature takes its course” is the modern approach, often promoted by persons who are not directly affected or by those fundamentally opposed to enhancement of the environment.

Plus, this could be a reasonable stance considering the numerous marine engineering failures resulting from bad advice and poor decision making. The closest example is the Whakarire Ave Seawall built in 1994 by the NCC, which has caused wave energy to funnel into the south end of Westshore Beach. Instead of removing this problematic seawall, the NCC has applied for Consent to build a $2M offshore breakwater to add another intrusive structure. The consultants have confirmed that strengthening the existing rock protection remains an option. This is an environmentally friendly alternative that will be less than 15% of the cost of a breakwater and it will adequately protect properties in the constantly changing Erosion Zone.

The proposed breakwater, on the other hand, will redirect wave energy further north towards several low-lying properties located behind the weak shingle stopbank. These houses are now more vulnerable to severe swells due to beachhead retreatment. The resultant damage to the beach will be monitored to determine the necessity for hard engineering … but only when the loss of private and public land becomes a priority.

My assessment of man-made erosion at Westshore Beach is well-documented; but there are unique considerations for a solution for the Cape Coast. They include the status of replenishment, the influence of the coastal drift, suitability of protruding groynes compared to a land based seawall and the assessment of capital cost versus asset loss.

A well designed, well constructed and well proven permanent rock seawall could be the only option. All “last resort” hard engineering seawalls built in a wave system have an eddy effect (known as the end effect) requiring the ends to join a headland or a beach in a state of accretion. The popular “rip rap” design built along the entire 5 kms from Clifton to the Tukituki River mouth may be the ultimate solution. An isolated section of seawall is not a practical option within an eroding beach. A capital cost with minimal annual maintenance would be approximately $6M to $8M. Land and infrastructure could remain intact but could eventually be at the expense of an expansive sandy recreational beach.

Westshore has a slightly different problem. A sandy recreational beach is a thing of the past. As recently as July 2010, the consultants finally conceded that the beach is in a state of permanent erosion. The NCC has decided to continue importing unsuitable nourishment shingle in grossly inadequate quantities to counter the current aggressive erosion of the sandy inshore seabed and beachhead.

In 1985, when engineers considered erosion was cyclical and easy to control, nourishment was the best option. However 13 years later in 1998, the consultants presented a 2.85 km seawall as a recommended “hard engineering” option. This recommended solution was discarded because the estimated cost was based on importing rock from New Plymouth and Tauranga. The low maintenance seawall proposal was also documented in Becas Report 2003 at a ridiculous $80M (CPI adjusted to 2010). This option continues to be discredited by all NCC Councillors because they accept flawed advice that rock needs to be imported into a region which has abundant resources of hard limestone rock. The NCC and HBRC engineers refer to the Komar and Becas reports for coastal solutions and the numerous and obvious inconsistencies remain unchallenged.

Many seawalls are highly successful and perform as required; however many groynes and breakwaters have turned into environmental disasters. Around 1980 the first of two groynes was built within 350m of the Port of Napier breakwater at the north end of Marine Parade. The designed purpose was to impede the flow of coastal sediment around the breakwater to limit the infilling of the dredged channel used for ships accessing the Port. This major project was a huge success at impeding the natural northerly drift with vast quantities of sand and shingle accumulating on the southern side and building up back to Pacific Beach.

What the model did not show, but a swell event did, was the scouring effect of the groyne which threatened the foundations of a new workshop on the northern side. The groyne was urgently demolished, plans for the second groyne were shelved and the groyne project was deemed an expensive failure. The remnants of this groyne with a huge gap to allow the shingle to get through remain visible at the Ports southern entrance. It is well depicted on satellite photos.

A huge rock apron, an extensive extension and a deflecting arm on the breakwater have since ensured that the extended and deepened navigational channel is not constantly filled with naturally transported coastal sediment. The 397 page Paul Komars report or the many Beca Infrastructure reports make no reference to these recently constructed impediments to the replenishing sediment that had kept Westshore Beach in a state of accretion up to 1980.

The above references to the Westshore Beach problems are relevant to the Cape Coast situation. WOW needs to question the advice of “so called” experts to ensure an appropriate, practical, and affordable solution gets urgent attention.

Larry Dallimore

Doesn’t sound like a ‘nutter’ to me. How about you? Here’s his background … Tom

Engineering background:

  • Ministry of Works – Bridge & Roads Dept – Civil Engineering Draughtsman.
  • Auckland Regional Authority– Regional Roads Division– Motorway Designer.
  • Earthmoving Equipment Ltd – Civil Engineering Contractor – Admin & Project Management.
  • Dallimore Groundworks Ltd  – Earthmoving & Heavy Haulage & Quarry Operator – Sole Director.
  • ‘Retirement’ – Sold up.
  • East Coast Contractors Ltd – Contracting & Shingle Plants – General Manager on 3yr Contract.
  • ‘Retired’ … again.

Engineering experience:

  • Contracting works for various Govt departments and almost every Council on the East Coast.
  • Operated three limestone quarries that supplied 352,000 tonnes of rock for Port works.
  • Preferred heavy plant hire contractor to the Port during the period of major development.
  • Directly involved in the operation of shingle screening and crushing plants at various sites.
  • Supplied all the heavy plant to build the Waimarama seawall which was controlled by the HBCB.
  • Supplied all the heavy earthmoving equipment for installing the offshore Hastings sewer pipeline.
  • Carried out drainage contracts and river maintenance works for the HB Catchment Board.
  • Directly involved in a large seawall contract on the NSW coast and dams in QLD.

Westshore Beach erosion:

  • Westshore was my playground and place to swim from mid 1950’s.
  • Beachfront resident since the late 1970’s.
  • Main heavy plant contractor to the Port between early 1970’s and mid 1990’s.

Join the Conversation


  1. The above weather situation was written on Monday 28th when Cyclone Bune had a high end category 2 status and when it was forecast to track south within 400 kms of the east coast of NZ.

    Today (Tuesday 29th) the cyclone was downgraded to an offshore storm because it shredded and lost the eye which has caused the rain band to concentrate in the southern half of the depression. Also, the low pressure system has maintained a south east track and will now pass at least 500kms off the east coast of the North Island. The height of the swells will have less punch than earlier forecast but should be significant on HB beaches.

    The high pressure system moving over the country from the Tasman Sea will push the depression further east and reduce the severity of the swells. This new path will remove the threat of extreme swells and damage to the HB coastline should be minor.

  2. The response from Diane Charteris is appreciated and I offer further opinion. We are on the same song sheet but reading different lyrics. There are numerous examples of engineered marine intrusions that have enhanced the environment but the comment “those wanting an artificial scene should move to Surfers or Hawaii” sets up the “what I want – you don’t need” debate. This is not for me.

    My understanding of wave dynamics and resultant forces differ slightly. Basically, the two ways to control the force of a wave naturally or by engineering is by gravity and dissipation. Erosion forces from wave energy are dependent on many factors. They include exposure to open ocean, nearshore and beach gradients, sediment characteristics, state of accretion or erosion, wave dissipation in the wave zone, permeability of the upper beach, etc. Plantings can benefit riverbanks but they cannot alleviate damage to the backshore at a beach in a state of permanent erosion. Without permanent land protection as provided by a proper seawall, this is definitely not, as Diane put it “the way we should be going”.

    Generally, beaches are not the same but can be similar and many have unique and ever changing characteristics. There are many who suggest that a problem or solution at another place will produce an identical outcome somewhere else. The reference to Shell Bay some 200kms north of Perth just south of Leeman is a case in point. It is a bay sheltered by two enormous reefs about 2 kms offshore. It is a bay subjected to a northerly drift with vast coastal sand deposits that have formed extensive dunes. It is in a permanent state of accretion and the fine sand offers limited permeability which has determined the gentle beach gradient. Any obstruction on a beach with a coastal drift and during a swell will cause varying degrees of scouring. The obstruction stays but drifting sand in milder conditions tends to normalise the beach profile. A comparison of Shell Beach with HB beaches is meaningless.

    A sandy beach at Westshore is a thing of the past. There is no natural replenishment and importing sand is not practical or affordable. The suggestion that a sandy surface was left behind after a swell is absolutely correct. Less than five months ago, 10,500 m3 of gravel, imported from Pacific Beach, was dumped to form a shingle seawall on a seriously damaged beachhead. High seas move residual sand into suspension and during milder conditions it settles on the inshore. The sandy surface is only a skin and at low tide can look similar in appearance to prior years except the beachhead has retreated and the inshore seabed is more than one meter lower.

    I have one last comment on the suspicion that “we may have a sandy beach again if the coast was allowed to find its boundary”. The full explanation requires a lot of detail but in simple terms, there is a lack of natural sand between Clifton and Bayview. Westshore was a shingle spit so the backshore is predominantly greywacke shingle making restoration to a prior state impossible by erosion. Beach sand is deposited by coastal transport so “having a sandy beach again”, is a fantasy.

  3. Off the cuff as I haven't had time to do my usual research lately but as the coast is of particular interest to me I will make a comment. From regular observation over recent years during high swell and storm situations some things are very obvious. The first thing is that wherever there are man made intrusions into the sea, even very minimal ones, erosion occurs around the adjacent area. Jetties, wire fences, vertical wall barriers, pipelines and so on all have an effect. The energy within a wave cannot stop instantly so on encountering an obstacle is simply redirected upwards and around the obstacle. At Clifton – Te Awanga the weight and force of the water coming back down after encountering the walls is damaging and the severe suction of the retreating wave back into the sea is powerful and causes the very rapid undermining of structures. Hence the loss of the cottages. Where there are plantings and no structures along that area there is also considerably more stability. At Westshore after one of the more recent major storm surges the jetty area was left with a sheer cliff face very close to the surf club building, but where the sea had taken the shingle elsewhere a gentle slope and quite a sandy surface was left behind. An observation at Shell Beach in Western Australia clearly demonstrated the effect of a minor intrusion. A hurricane wire fence protruding into the sea had on one side created a sheer cliff of approx. 2 metres high, and approx 150 metres in from the base of the gently sloping beach on the other side of the fence. In ancient times man developed enormous understandings of natural cycles and phenomenon and learned to live in harmony with these. We have tossed out much of this wisdom in the misguided believe that we "super beings" know better than nature, and can control it with science and engineering. How many times do we have to face the consequences of denying nature to live on the edge or for profit (the usual reason) before we face up to reality. On natural beaches, soft areas build up a gentle slope and dune systems which act as natural protection by gently disseminating the wave forces, and where there is solid rock a cliff forms but it is usually very high and waves don't often break over the top but these are areas which are also subject to cliff collapses. At Te Awanga managed retreat and extensive planting of at least 500 metres of coastal reserve in native coastal flora is the way we should be going. This would in time become a valuable recreation area an an important eco system. For that I would be very supportive of ratepayers funds being used. Those who want the artificial scene how about moving to Surfers or Hawaii! At Westshore there is unfortunately major infrastructure which has to be considered but I suspect if the coast was allowed to find it's own boundary we may just have a sandy beach back again. The bottom line is that we have had massive tsunami in past history and with the two active off shore trenches we are sitting ducks in such a future event. Isn't it time we put common sense and the value of human live and ecosystems before dollars? Isn't it time we learned to understand nature and to live with it?

  4. The Westshore Beach situation is complex and requires consideration of the effects of the 1931 earthquake and the redirection of river outfalls, as well as several other factors. I certainly respect Larry's engineering background and years of experience, but when it comes to understanding the underlying processes, I think we would do well to also listen to the best available scientific advice.

    Beach replenishment definitely slows down the rate of erosion at Westshore. At the right level, replenshment can fully compensate for the effects of the Port of Napier. Nobody claims. however, that it can compensate for all the effects of nature, as when an earthquake raises the seabed by 5 m or more, or when global warming raises sea levels.

    The decisions made by the people who went ahead and built houses at Westshore, on what used to be a gravel spit, and by Napier City Council when it issued consents, have contributed to the difficult situation we face today. Sooner or later decisions will have to be made on whether or not to build multi-million coastal protection works.

    As that day approaches there should in my opinion be a rigorous cost-benefit analysis. Who stands to benefit? And who is going to pay the cost? Any investment of millions on sea walls, reefs or groins, without first developing a long-term plan including agreement on who pays, is no better than throwing ratepayer money into the sea.

    Until there is a long-term plan, approved by the city, regular beach replenishment by truck should continue. It gives Westshore residents more time, and it compensates for the blocking effects of the port on the northerly drift of shingle, sand and mud. The cost is far less than the interest cost alone would be on the money needed to build a major seawall.

  5. Just reading some of the interesting comments and statements regarding the coastal erosion.

    As a 4th generation Te Awanga resident, and worked on the Cape Coast Beach for 3 decades, this is a subject very close to my bones so i feel i'm well positioned to comment.

    There have been some ineresting comments.

    Firstly, although Larry has some positive points, he has missed the mark on others.

    The only comparable point between Westshore and the Cape Coast is the wave action that moves the gravel northward.

    The Cape Coast (Haumoana cell) has a consistant supply of gravel from the Cape cliffs 18000m3 PA. Plus the supply fron the Tuki Tuki river.

    There are already three sucsessful groynes between Haumoana and Clive.

    These groynes have filled naturally and are working extremely well. There is an abundance of material traveling beyond towards Napier for the continued extaction at Awatoto and the supply of Gravel to WestShore from Marine Parade (Pacific Beach).

    For those that haven't been to the Tuki Tuki Rivermouth at Haumoana lately, go and have a look and see for yourself.

    One of the main debateable issues is the downstream scouring effect with the number of groynes to fill with this proposal .

    Solution: Trucking in gravel to fill the groynes so the natural travelling gravels can just keep on moving as they are now, BUT with 40-50 metres of beach extended outwards to the end of the groynes from the trucked in material.

    From this you have a natural gravel beach.

    Why this hasn't worked in Westshore is because there is no natural gravel supply, only periodic replenishment, therefore when a large swell occurs, there will be souring on the north of the groyne because there is not enough material to fill the groyne so it can flow around to the north. If the replenishment was a daily event 365 days a year, there would be a different result.

    This Cape Coast proposal is not trying to control the waves, this is just extending the beach profile by trapping segments of gravel in the groynes. the waves do what they've always done, just keep moving the gravel northward.

    Bill Sutton re costs

    Part of this would be funded by ratepayers regardless. This is for the fastructure replacment that is in the original managed retreat option. This would be transfered to the groyne option if consent was granted.

    There has also been a substantial sum offered by an independant.

    Targeted rates for local benefactors are also being considered.

    Who pays has to be an agreement reached by all.

    Dianne Charteris. Re Trees and soft engineering options.

    The whole of this coastline is eroding, not just the areas where the block walls are.

    Do you remember the big norfolk pines that were on the camping reserve as you leave Haumoana towards Te Awanga. Gone from the actions of the sea.

    Between Clifton and Te Awanga there are no walls yet I've watched some 20-30 metres disappear over a 20 year period.

    I agree that sea walls do not work.

    The actual beach disapears completely, even at low tide.

    I could have writen loads more but just trying to stick to the points.

    I hope this helps on your veiws.


  6. What an excellent and descriptive letter from Larry Dallimore reported on Baybuzz regarding the westshore beach erosion.

    I have lived beachside at westshore for over 50 years and have observed the quite distinct changes to the beach over these years, which I am sure can in the main be attributed to the growth of the Napier port.

    Whilst the replenishment proceedure has been helpful it has only ever been a band aid and will never solve the erosion.It appears even the experts agree on that.

    The answer to Tom Belfords question "who would you believe" is quite clearly a "no brainer".

    If only our councils could put aside their bias and reconsider the sea wall option now, rather than addressing the problem in the future, as no doubt future councils will be required to.

    If, according to Becca consultants the proposed breakwater is not necessary, then wouldn't that money be better utilised by being put toward a successful seawall construction.

  7. This is really interesting as I've often offered wondered if it was possible to rebuild a sandy beach in Napier.

    It's such a shame that we live on the coast with great weather and we don't have a nice beach out the front. But do do remember back in the 80's when Pacific Surf Club was at it's peak and they'd be hundreds of people down there in the weekends and at lunchtime. At least you didn't get sand in your sammies.

    I was in Noosa earlier in the week and spoke to the 'sandman'. They have a $1.5m sand pumping project and artificially keep the main beach full of sand. His big message was that you need a sand source. Snapper Point on the Gold Coast is also maintained through pumping so sand management is very common on the best beaches.

    From the great info above it seems that the natural movement of gravel and lack of sand makes the sandy beach dream impossible. That is good to know.

    When we decided to move back to the Hawkes Bay part of it was to enjoy the sun and beaches. Over the last few months I've been amazed at the quality of surfing that is available. Not all the time but frequent enough to keep people happy.

    For many, many people access to quality waves is a major factor in choosing somewhere to visit, live, work and invest.

    An integrated strategy that manages erosion as well as provides a few new opportunities for mid to high quality waves must make the business case a lot better.


  8. Regardless of the EX-PERTS – Myself and a number of Westshore residents would like a proper seawall as the first stage in any solution.

    Everyone agrees Westshore Beach has changed considerably for the worse in the last couple of deades, resulting in most of the Beach being pretty awlful. No further comment needed.

    Westshore Beach could and should be a major asset for Napier/Hawkes Bay. Not only as a facility for all locals but as another Tourist asset – For this reason alone the solution should not be thrown at Westshore Resdients as suggested by earlier replies – BUT a regional approach from all Councils is required to this “underloved asset”.

    Westshore Beach residents are among the highest paying ratepayers because of this asset and increased values (Hence rates) that ALL Napier benefits from. Maybe we would all be willing to pay the rates of the lowest properties in Napier and pay for our own solution!!!!!

    Whatever the Councils HAVE/ARE doing OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF DEADES is not working and needs a durable long term solution.

    Regardless of how long the deabte has gone on the engineers (The Port & Councils partners) should be able to give Mr Dallimore a reasonable explanation. An open response to the many erosion issues from both Councils is overdue.

    I and I believe many residents and non residents see a SEAWALL AS THE ONLY LOGICIAL FIRST STEP in finding a solution to restore the Beach as a recreational and tourism asset.

    May the deabte be allowed to continue – With all reports and aspects of reviews available for all.

  9. Bill Sutton writes that he respects my background and experience but suggests that I have no understanding of the underlying processes. Likewise, I respect Bill’s political aspirations but I have no understanding of his acceptance that all engineering advice is scientific. My assessment is after employing and working with many engineers plus there are numerous engineering disasters that verify the advice was unscientific.

    Bill refers to “the effects of the 1931 earthquake”. The Paul Komar Report states “By the 1960’s the benefits of the uplifted foreshore area had diminished and the Westshore beach system started to noticeably erode”. There is no science, case studies or comparisons to back up this so called “best available advice”. Local engineers cannot explain this assessment so if Bill can expand on his understanding, at least two “so called” experts could be enlightened.

    Bill suggests “consideration of the redirection of river outfalls is required”. Readily accessible Harbour Board records of 1924 include a report by the Chief Engineer on sediment transport from the old Ahuriri Lagoon. The NCC consultants missed or omitted to mention the problems encountered moving the fine sand and mud from the Inner Harbour channel outlet. It appears that Bill has failed to do the research or “the best available advice” considered this important detail irrelevant.

    The Consultants also missed the relevance of recent Port structures that disrupted sediment flow and omitted to provide the research on the effect to the tidal prism. Also, there is no explanation for the 1931 earthquake having a unique effect on 2.5km of Westshore Beach or how the adjacent beaches got the benefit of uplift but missed severe erosion. These major causes of erosion, as determined by the “best available advice” should be regarded as overstated and unsubstantiated assumptions.

    My opinion of the expert’s failure to consider structures that impeded the natural flow of sediment has been documented. Other than the Komar Report, every report concludes that the Port Breakwater is the cause of Westshore Beach erosion. Before the mid 1970’s the Port breakwater sheltered the beach at Hardinge Road and impeded the transport of replenishment. This beach had to be protected with shoring and later with rock and rubble from the old Milton Road quarry. The East Pier beach at the north end (behind the old Deep Sea Fisheries factory) was an endless source of shingle for Port reclamation.

    Shingle deposits ceased accumulating at the East Pier mole due to deeper dredging of the shipping channel and extraction had stopped by 1980. During this period at Westshore Beach, the deep sand that had accumulated since the 1931 earthquake started to disappear. In 1926, an old steam boiler from the demolished freezing works was discarded to the beach adjacent to James Street. Sand built up over the following 50 odd years to almost cover this 2m high boiler when the beach was in a constant state of accretion. Sediment starvation from Port development has taken 30 years to erode this vast build up of sand to expose this relic close to the level at which it was dumped. There are no records but erosion could be more serious if this boiler has recently sunk. The NCC will not accept the timeline supported by three known measurements and insist that the timing of Port development and Westshore erosion is a mere coincidence.

    Significant erosion was obvious to Westshore residents but the NCC did not address the problem until 1985 and commenced nourishment in 1987. I do not believe that the Port engineers had figured that their efforts to develop an all weather port operation would have the ongoing detrimental effects for Westshore Beach or beyond. Sooner or later, an open unbiased assessment with consideration of the more recent events will conclude that the Port benefited at the expense of Westshore Beach and the company is culpable.

    Bill states “beach replenishment definitely slows down the rate of erosion” which is obvious but “fully compensating for the effects of the Port of Napier” is totally absurd. There is evidence that erosion accounts for a 200,000m3 deficit within the beach system. According to the Consultants, without the deficit we need to import 30,000m3 per year to replenish the calculated loss however the HBRC only placed 10,500m3 in the stopbank last year. Also according to the HBRC, the current source is not sustainable and Council staff considers the only practical and affordable alternative is to haul accumulated nourishment material back from Bayview.

    Bill comments “the people who built houses at Westshore and the NCC responsible for giving consent have contributed to the difficult situation we face today”. It’s difficult to respond to such a wild “hindsight” statement but it’s understandable when research has been overlooked. This comment is best put aside.

    Bill suggests that the “band aid” nourishment will give Westshore residents more time and compensate for the Port starving Westshore of sediment. We have had a high maintenance shingle seawall with virtually no beach for too many years. We need a low maintenance permanent seawall with retaining groynes to have some form of beach and time is running out to construct this option. Who pays to repair damage caused by others is a task for energetic politicians.

    Bill has concerns for the overall cost. A rock seawall will be less than the ongoing current solution or the cost of restoration following a severe swell event. The opportunity to build a permanent seawall on the barely intact beachhead is approx $7M. This amount should have been an entry on the Port of Napier balance sheet as a contingent liability. The financial burden belongs to the Port Company and the HBRC as owner should fund the compensation from their near $300M investment portfolio. The damage is the responsibility of the HBRC and not the NCC ratepayer.

  10. Rod Heaps comment is appreciated. Having had similar experience as a resident of Westshore Beach, I have the utmost respect for any comment by a 4th generation resident of Te Awanga Beach. I agree with Rod, he is well positioned to comment on beach issues after working on the Cape Coast for 30 years.

    The NCC and HBRC engineers are unable to speak to me because their bosses advised me in writing that “there is a limit to the advice he can give” and the other “his expertise and knowledge on coastal processes have been over estimated”. Also, after establishing excellent dialogue with the Auckland consultants, the Council directed them to stop talking to me. The Mayor explained that each call was costing the Council money. This was a fabrication.

    Rod’s comment includes “I have missed the mark” on other points so after being “stonewalled” by the engineers, I see this as an opportunity to be enlightened.

    I have eight questions relating to Rod’s comment – “The Cape Coast has a consistent supply of gravel from the Cape cliffs of 18,000m3 per annum plus the supply from the Tukituki River”.

    1. Where along the length of the Cape cliffs does the gravel come from?

    2. Is the material mudstone, sandstone, greywacke, or some other?

    3. How long has the supply of gravel from the Cape cliffs been consistent?

    4. Is the amount of 18,000m3 derived from the Paul Komar Report?

    5. How much gravel moves south (against northerly drift) from the Tukituki?

    6. If 18,000m3 plus moves into the Cape Coast annually, why is there erosion?

    7. Huge deposits from Cape cliffs and 3 rivers. Why only 6,000m3 to the Port?

    8. Besides the cliffs and Tukituki, is there any other source of replenishment?

    My Company was involved in the Hastings Sewer Outfall project in the area of the three groynes (Haumoana to Clive). We worked 24/7 with three large machines during swell conditions to minimise damage to the northern shoreline. Gravel flows from the Tukituki River and erosion by the northerly drift tended to keep the beach in equilibrium. The beach dynamics between Clifton and Haumoana are different.

    Rod’s answers are important because the Consultants refer to the Haumoana littoral cell in their conclusions on Westshore erosion. I look forward to Rod’s answers because they could add to the understanding of HB beach problems.

  11. Larry Dallimire's personal lengthy attack on me unfortunately shows that, whatever skills he may have acquired in his previous employment, they don't extend to participating in an open public discussion of Westshore beach erosion and the options for addressing it.

  12. Bill Sutton, if I have offended you with my response, then I sincerely apologise. Your comments deserved a precise account of events and qualification of my opinions. Construing this as being a personal attack is fallacious.

    Stating that I do not understand the underlying processes of Westshore erosion without reading my full report is offensive. Sometimes the wrong spelling of a name, as you have done, is offensive. These are misguided insults and certainly not taken as a personal attack.

    According to Bill, the situation at Westshore is complex but it is not complicated. There is a growing collection of 122 genuine but outrageous statements made on erosion causes, problems and solutions. They are attributable to Consultants, Engineers, Councillors, and staff from both Councils. The best 10 will be aired in the media soon.

    The remark about my lack of skill to participate in public discussion is unfortunate. Let’s have this “open public discussion”. I may not fare well for presentation skills but I maybe competitive on substance and credibility.

    Rod Heaps is expected to give answers to 8 questions as above. This discussion could be a good opportunity for Bill and others to get a greater understanding of erosion issues at HB beaches.

  13. I read with interest Larrie Dallimore's article and the replies. As a motelier with guests wanting to use the beach it is an embarassment, we have one of the few safe swimming beaches in Napier But they ask where is the sand?. Also a major problem with the continued dumping of shingle is anyone who has a problem with balance or walking cannot get to the beach we can stand at the top and look at the shingle. There is so much sense in what Larrie has to say, how much longer do we have to wait for something to be done or worse still something major to happen lets start with the wall and start now enough time has already been lost.

  14. I can assure Larry Dallimore I didn't intentionally mispell his name. And I accept his apology in return, although what I really want is for him to quote me accurately, from now on, rather than inventing statements I haven't made.

    For example that Larry "has no understanding of the underlying processes". Why on earth would I say that? Or that the current beach replenishment rate "fully compensates" for the Napier Port effects? Of course I said no such thing. And where does he get my "political aspirations" from? I gave up having political aspirations in 1995.

    And why should Larry accuse me of "wild hindsight" for pointing out that building houses at Westshore has contributed to the problem we face today? The problem we face today is that multi-million dollar property developments, including Larry's fine house at 4 Charles Street, are facing a long-term threat from coastal erosion. If the houses hadn't been built, that aspect of the problem wouldn't exist.

    I'm not saying everybody who has built or bought at Westshore, in the last 30 years, is stupid. But they certainly can't plead ignorance of the coastal erosion issue.

    The 1931 earthquake had a huge impact on Westshore and the dynamic effects of it continue to this day. Currently the sea is trying to reclaim some of the former seabed it gave up in the 1930s through to the 1950s. How much of this change is attributable to port developments will continue to be a focus of public debate, probably for ever, because there is no way of doing a controlled experiment to distinguish between the various causes, even if we have correctly identified them all, which is doubtful. So I don't agree with Larry when he says the situation is "not complicated".

    Moving the Tutaekuri River outfall away from Ahuriri clearly did reduce the flow of river sediment into the harbour and hence to Westshore and points north. But the effect of that change on the current erosion problem is pretty much unknowable: there are too many other factors involved. The fact a previous Council chose to ignore it tells us nothing.

    Of course I am interested in the cost of protection works. Like most retired people, I have limited means and don't want to be forced to pay for expensive seawalls, groins, reefs etc to benefit a select few, many of whom are considerably wealthier than myself. Does that make me so unusual?

    Clearly we cannot expect the residents of Maraenui, Onekawa, Pirimai, Tamatea etc, thousands of whom are really hard pressed at present, no thanks to the National Party, to stump up for others who can afford to pay for themselves. So let's start with a full property valuation exercise and report on who stands to benefit from a seawall, and by how much. Then let the beneficiaries pay most of the cost of protection through a targeted rate.

    Obviously Transit New Zealand and the Airport Authority must contribute something too. And the Port and the two councils contribute already. We'll all pay something. But when Larry and his supporters have to pay the most, we'll find out their true opinions on value for money.

  15. Bill, It certainly didn't appear to me to be a "personal lengthy attack" on you by Larry,more a constructive response to your comments made March 30th.

    As to your comments regarding who would pay for any cost of protection works, you make a call for a full property valuation exercise. I thought we already have that as is indicated to me painfully everytime I receive a rate demand.

    With regard to your comments about people who have built or purchased in westshore, I agree with Larry, that is a wild hindsight statement. When my house was built the beach was in a state of accretion. I dont think its fair to blame the persons of the time for not having the foresight to predict the growth of the port.That could be likened to developers in some napier areas building houses on pontoons and being able to predict the earthquake.

    I do agree with you Bill, lets have a open public discussion of the westshore beach erosion and the options for addressing it.

  16. Bill Sutton’s understanding of the erosion problem at Westshore is fascinating. A response is necessary to put a stop to Bill’s “from now on” discussion which is more about resentment and envy. Who should pay, who should not, and who benefits is a miserly and selfish argument when a solution and costs have not been determined. This issue will be resolved at a time to suit the politicians.

    I cannot and will not benefit in any way from a proposed breakwater, the continuing nourishment or the inevitable seawall solution. One Councillor even suggested that my interest was in reopening a quarry to supply limestone rock. Our family home is no more exposed to unreasonable risk than any other property in Westshore, providing both Councils attend to inexpensive overdue maintenance to the existing shoreline protection.

    My interest was in getting an explanation from the “so called” experts relating to engineering issues. My concern is for a seriously deteriorating regional asset due to the construction of two permanent man-made marine structures. My assessment includes evidence that the current solution is not working. My belief is that we have an opportunity to salvage a form of beach and retain a precious public reserve for future generations. The fact that my findings have not been refuted by the engineers is testing my tenacity.

    The actual effect of the earthquake, redirected river outfall and tidal prisms will be recorded as a diversion and a myth. The engineers cannot provide the science and engineering to support or substantiate these conclusions and, as expected, neither can Bill Sutton. All but one of the 85 reports established the principle cause of erosion. It is not possible to understand the problem and accept the solution if the cause is selectively blamed on the 1931 earthquake. The Port Company accepts and promotes that they are exonerated but so far, Mr Komar from the USA is the only engineer who agrees with the Port and HBRC as owner. Sadly, due to a decision by current Councillors (but one), the Napier ratepayers are burdened with the escalating annual costs and the inherited extreme financial risk of a major disaster.

    The $1.5M breakwater approved to protect 12 properties, the $2.5M re-profiling approved to cosmetically enhance the backshore, and the $0.3M for annual nourishment should be invested in a permanent solution. There is a cheaper option for the breakwater, re-profiling is a backstop for the unsuccessful shingle stopbank and continuing nourishment is ineffective at stopping the beach from retreating.

    At the end of the day, whether the cause is man-made or a natural event, the decision will be simple. Adopt the current remedy of continuing with nourishment and accept a retreating beachhead or install a seawall (a rock faced upper beach) to halt erosion and protect land. Either way, any form of beach will be totally dependent on imported material due to the beach being in a permanent state of erosion. This fact was confirmed by NCC consultants in July 2010.

    I had the opportunity to explain my opinions on Westshore Beach erosion to a City Councillor. The meeting was on-site and after a lengthy discussion the response was “the beach is disgusting and the reserve is disgraceful”. The final comment was “I live on the hill and I don’t see why my rates should be spent saving properties at Westshore”.

    The contribution made by this City Leader to the unfortunate and desperate people in Christchurch would be revealing. Could we draw parallels of an attitude towards victims of natural disasters?

  17. My views on Westshore beach erosion are not complicated. The key points are as follows.

    1. This beach is one of the best studied in the world. There is enough known about the history and the science to let us make reliable decisions about managing it.

    2. The beach is currently being very capably managed by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, in which I have no current political or financial interests, except that I pay my fair share of rates. I regard the Regional Council as an important regional service provider.

    3. The beach in my estimation has not suffered significant erosion in the last twenty years, thanks partly to the beach replenishment programme jointly funded by the Regional Council and Napier City Council, and partly to the protective effects of the Port breakwater, which reduces the force of many of the storm waves impacting the beach.

    4. The alternatives to annual beach replenishment promoted by a few local enthusiasts would either cost much more than replenishment, or achieve less, or both.

    5. The Komar report is by far the most comprehensive review of the history and science of this issue. I urge everybody interested in Westshore beach erosion to borrow a copy of the Komar report, read it carefully cover to cover, and take notes.

    6. Larry Dallimore’s comments on this issue have convinced me his opinions can’t be relied on.

  18. Bill Sutton – on April 21st, 2011 9:50 pm

    My views on Westshore beach erosion are not complicated. The key points are as follows.

    1. This beach is one of the best studied in the world. There is enough known about the history and the science to let us make reliable decisions about managing it.

    2. The beach is currently being very capably managed by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, in which I have no current political or financial interests, except that I pay my fair share of rates. I regard the Regional Council as an important regional service provider.

    3. The beach in my estimation has not suffered significant erosion in the last twenty years, thanks partly to the beach replenishment programme jointly funded by the Regional Council and Napier City Council, and partly to the protective effects of the Port breakwater, which reduces the force of many of the storm waves impacting the beach.

    4. The alternatives to annual beach replenishment promoted by a few local enthusiasts would either cost much more than replenishment, or achieve less, or both.

    5. The Komar report is by far the most comprehensive review of the history and science of this issue. I urge everybody interested in Westshore beach erosion to borrow a copy of the Komar report, read it carefully cover to cover, and take notes.

    6. Larry Dallimore’s comments on this issue have convinced me his opinions can’t be relied on.

    My views on Westshore Beach erosion are also not complicated and for me, neither is the cause or the solution. I cannot agree with the key points made however, I will pose questions to the six points hoping his answers will enlighten readers.

    1. (a) Where is the science used to support and determine the cause of erosion?

    (b) There are 86 conflicting reports. Which reports are the most reliable?

    (c) Why is history less relevant from 1931 but crucial from 1890 to 1931?

    (d) Could Port developments from 1970’s cause sediment starvation and erosion?

    (e) Why manage and monitor erosion when control and stopping it is required?

    2.(a) Does “capably managed by the HBRC” mean the solution has been successful?

    (b) Why does the HBRC refer engineering enquires on the beach to the NCC?

    (c) Why does the NCC refer questions on erosion to the reports on their website?

    (d) How far will the HBRC let the beach retreat before another remedy is considered?

    3.(a) Why is the MHW mark now 30 to 40 meters closer to the domain and/or road?

    (b) Why is the beachhead since 1931, the only remaining defence for the reserve?

    (c) Why are the inshore gradients now 1.5 to 1.7 meters lower than in 1975?

    (d) In 1975 the old boiler was 0.4m above sand. Now it’s 1.9m above shingle. Why?

    (e) On what basis did the Mayor state that a sandy beach in the 1970’s was a “blip”?

    (f) How does the Port breakwater protect Westshore from the predominant swells?

    (g) The breakwater will build up sand. How does this work with permanent erosion?

    (h) Mayor states sandy beaches are not natural on this coast. Are engineers wrong?

    4.(a) Why is the quantity of nourishment currently one third of the annual loss?

    (b) Nourishment has been less than erosion for 15 years. Is the deficit a problem?

    (c) After 24 years of nourishment, is the beach in an acceptable condition?

    (d) How can shingle imported to replace lost sand resemble beach replenishment?

    (e) Nourishment is formed into a stopbank. Why not directly into the beach system?

    (f) What are the costs of a permanent remedy compared to the current solution?

    (g) The reserve is being rapidly eroded. How could a rock seawall achieve less?

    5.(a) Why did Komar fail to record four critical impediments to coastal sediment?

    (b) How is 18,000m3 of greywacke stone derived from the cliffs at Cape Kidnappers?

    (c) Why does the 397 page report not assess the effect of the shipping channel?

    (d) Are comparisons to overseas natural erosion relevant to man-made erosion?

    (e) The Komar Report is the most comprehensive. Is it the most accurate?

    (i) Free copies to judge the Komar Report. Email larryd@xtra.co.nz

    (ii)Most reports are available with the contested conclusions highlighted.

    6.(a) Could supporting information enhance the credibility of the six key points?

    (b) Without reading my assessment, is Bill’s comment on my opinion appropriate?

    (c) Comprehensive hard evidence is available. Which opinion cannot be relied on?

    The NCC has stated that they are comfortable with the current solution and have voted unanimously to continue with the Nourishment Programme that started in 1987. The “Surfies” are preparing to halt the proposed breakwater and they should retain their City Reef for future generations. On the other hand, the NCC and HBRC have committed ratepayer funds to “patching up” a progressively decaying beach and the eventual loss of a precious public reserve.

    The Councils will not provide reason answers to the following simple questions.

    1. Why did the NCC and HBRC advise me that informed discussion was unavailable?

    2. Why did the NCC engineers direct Beca Consultants to cease talking to me?

    3. Why did only six Councillors read and understand my 60 page Discussion Notes?

    4. My assessment included Becas projects. Why did Becas perform the peer review?

    5. The review was a sham requiring a seminar. Why were questions limited to 20?

    6. We disagreed only on the solution. Why were the other answers not discussed?

    7. Becas substantially agreed with my assessment. Why did the NCC still proceed?

    8. Westshore erosion was an agenda item for the new Council. What happened?

    9. Why did the NCC decline my offer to fully fund an evaluation of my assessment?

    10. Why did the Mayor refuse to consider hard evidence supporting my assessment?

    11. Why did 5 Councillors suddenly withdraw support for the engineer’s evaluation?

    12. 4 senior Councillors put the application on hold. Why did the Mayor blame me?

    13. Why has the Resource Consent application been put on hold for the second time?

    14. The application was put on hold two months ago. When will it return to HBRC?

    15. The Mayor stated my part was detrimental to residents. Is Dallimore now exonerated?

    Other simple questions were put to the NCC but they led to the engineers discrediting me, the Mayor questioned my integrity and Council officers are refusing credible answers to written questions. The print media sought comment on an article on erosion but when Council indicated the options for publishing negative material, it was withdrawn.

    Between Wednesday 27/04/11 and Friday 29/04/11, Westshore Beach will experience moderate to high seas from six high tides. Further erosion to the beachhead will be noticeable and possibly significant if the 1.2m to 1.8m moderate swells arrive as forecast. Neap tides of 1.5m and swells from the SE will lessen damage from this event.

    The next severe swells combined with spring tides will ensure answers from engineers will be totally unnecessary. My concerns for such an event are based on personal experience of the severest swells on record during August 1974. The greatest concern is the recently eroded inshore seabed and the damage to the severely weakened beachhead by a possible extreme winter offshore storm. The engineers have not prepared Westshore for an event which is a case of when, not if.


    Now I have known Larry a few years – He does not offer any of his personal dollars with out good reason.

    Why will the Council not allow an open review of the information on the table.

    If they so DEEPLY believe in their view they have NOTHING to lose.

    Come on Democracy paid for by Larry, doesnt get any better than that.

  20. I have read Bill Suttons six key points and Dallimores questions on the points.

    We are concerned about the problem and are looking forward to your answers

  21. Bill, I too, am looking forward to your response to Larry Dallimore's answers to your 6 points, or is the cupboard bare.

  22. I've had my say, at sufficient length, and haven't changed my mind. Read the Komar review yourselves.

  23. Quote:

    “Bill Sutton – 1st May 2011

    Baybuzz editor wake up! Please separate my comments from the ones added by your next correspondent!”


    The inclusion of his six points in my response was simply to ensure my questions did not get confused with any other comment on this post.

    Surely, it is not possible to confuse his points and my questions. Maybe add “quote-end quote”, end of problem. We found the disrespectful “wake up” comment to the Editor, most unnecessary.

    The “my comments” that Bill is referring to are his “key points” listed as being factual and authoritative and not just his opinion.

    Four BayBuzz readers are willing to bet that Bill Sutton will not answer or address the questions put to him. Two others say he was a respected politician, well educated, always researches the subject and we can expect full and precise answers. A faithful supporter of his career insisted he is astute, sincere and a man of integrity and if he cannot answer a question, he will front up and say so.

    Bill is obviously taking time to ensure his answers are reliable and irrefutable. This will be a relief and comfort to all those witnessing the gradual demise of this HB regional amenity. Bill Sutton’s elaboration of his key points could provide a better understanding and may help the wider community accept of the current NCC solution.

  24. Obviously I was typing my comment at the same time as Bill Sutton was adding his response. I am surprised to find that Bill cannot elaborate on the six key points. I am really annoyed with myself for not taking the bets that were on offer.

    Bill refers the above BayBuzz readers to the lengthy and conflicting Komar Report. That is simply not fair unless one has a love for reading 397 pages of technical extracts and irrelevant comparisons.

    Can I ask Bill if he is prepared to answer and explain an initial selection of say 5 questions arising from the Komar Report. The responses can be posted here because there are many Westshore residents following his views

  25. Anybody interested in the demise of Westshore Beach and those who accept the NCC solution (including Bill Sutton) should take an opportunity on Wednesday to see the effectiveness of the expensive remedy adopted for 24 years.

    High seas from a sub tropical low are forecast for Westshore on Wednesday 6th July. Moderate swells over three high tides are less than half the size of past severe swells so property damage will be minimal but progressive erosion of the established beachhead could be significant.

    The Council has given an assurance that the beach will be protected and restored to a sandy beach. The engineers state that erosion is under control and beach nourishment has been a huge success. Both Councils cannot explain and will not discuss the engineering to support the situation or the many contradictions and omissions in their expert advice.

    The placement of inadequate amounts of unstable gravel in the form of a shingle seawall is inappropriate and incorrectly called a nourishment programme for the constant loss of beach sand. Around 9am on Wednesday during a mere 1.7m high tide will be a good time to see the Councils recently approved long term solution. The shingle that accumulates on the Marine Parade due to coastal impediments constructed by the Port of Napier will continue to be trucked to Westshore, dumped along the beach and formed into a weak superficial stopbank.

    With the current forecast, high seas will breach the shingle bank at the south end and the area adjacent to the Surf Club recently strengthened with extra nourishment will be encroached again. The flooding of buildings and the Westshore Reserve is not devastating but the progressive erosion of the inshore, the progressive retreatment of the beachhead and the irreplaceable loss of the backshore is serious. Unfortunately there is no Plan B because an expert engineer presented a ridiculous $80M estimate for a $7M permanent solution.

  26. The recent wave patterns at Westshore Beach ( 6 July 2011) further confirm Larry's doubts about the track the Areas councils are taking.

    Waves in these mild seas above the beach head show a Seawall is not only required but a priority.

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